I am 1 of the 640,000,000 inhabitants of Southeast Asia. And I am 1 of those who was just gone upset now that Uber is no longer operational in this part of the world. I am an Uber user since the time Uber started in the Philippines. It is my chosen ride-hailing firm as compared to Grab, a Singaporean-based and a more giant in my region.
Uber was my preferred ride every time I would travel back to Manila. It has prevented me from dealing with the swindler cum taxi drivers infesting the Manila airports. And though it’s no longer operational here in the Philippines, I intend to keep the Uber app in the phone.
I am an Uber user because I find it more efficient, a lot cheaper and the drivers seem more polite. I’m an Uber user that I even got to use Uber as a verb in my daily conversations with people. My admiration to Uber got more intense when I travelled solo in Istanbul. It was the ride I took when I need to spend the night in a hotel near the Istanbul airport. And when Nengkoy, my sister and I was in Bangkok, Uber was our preferred mode of transportation.
But the use of Uber would soon be so foreign to me both as an app and as a verb. Using an Uber now would only signify that I am out of my country for some travel, rest and recreation! Here’s one cute Uber Philippines commercial though…
Thanks for the short yet precious time Uber. Hoping to use you soon!
Let me be brief about this post. I was stuck in Manila during the 4-day no-work Catholic Holy Week. There was basically nowhere to go to nor do anything in Manila during the holy observance of holy week. Out of boredom, I decided to clean, clear and organize my dresser cabinet. For the record, people who may wonder how big my dresser cabinet is, well, it is basically the size of my whole condo unit. I consider my whole apartment as my dresser cabinet because (except for the space inside my ref) you will basically find a piece of apparel, vestment and clothing everywhere. The 4-day no-work Holy Week holiday has concluded but I have yet to finish with my dresser’s clearing operation. I was not surprise to find out that there has been eight humongous grocery bags that I was able to fill with old, used and outdated pieces of clothing.
So as to get rid of these bags full of misfits, redundant and useless articles, I went on Easter to the nearest H&M store and took part in their Close the Loop Project. I was just super glad that H&M got such a super worthy program. I am at least confident and assured that my old apparels will not end up in a noxious landfill. Thanks H&M! Now my dresser can breathe… Aleluya! May speys ulet!
Yesterday was my first time to watch a movie in which until the end of it I never knew of its title. Prior to getting to the mall, the only thing I know about the movie which me, Nengkoy and my whole family is gonna watch is that it stars hunky actor Gerald Anderson and pretty Ms. Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach. And that it is a romantic comedy film directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina.
You may wonder how come I did not saw the title when it was flashed at the first parts of the movie. Yes, I did not saw or notice it. Maybe it’s because I was too busy opening all the lids of all the huge tubs of popcorn my family brought along inside the cinema.
Only when I and my family were heading out of the cinema did I realize that I don’t know the title of the Filipino movie that we’ve just seen.
At the first half of the film, viewers will be treated with tacky plot of a story, bad acting, and cheesy dialogues. It especially became garish, loud and shoddy when the character of Wurtzbach appeared. There was nothing new and special about the film. And before the movie reaches its second half, I have already accepted the fate of us viewers that we have to endure watching such a trashy and second-rate film.
It was so disappointing that I have concluded that the director has gone worse as compared to the cool and heartwarming Filipino romantic-comedy films she has done in the past. And that the only saving glory of the film was the pleasure of seeing and appreciating the good looks of both Anderson and Wurtzbach. I have even resolved within me that it was good that I did not even know the title of such a trashy movie. Who would want to know anyway!
But when the film reached its second half, all these disappointments and frustrations were suddenly erased! The story, the plot and even the acting suddenly bloomed and became so fetching. In fact, when the second half of the film was running, I wanted to steal an Oscar trophy from the imaginary cabinets of acting awards of Meryl Streep and hand it over to Anderson!
When the twist of the story was revealed, each minute of the movie surprisingly becomes so intriguing to the point of being so engaging. It was so fantastic, I thought myself to be so stupid for not knowing the title of the film we were watching. I actually wanted to go out and read the movie poster but I don’t want to leave for I may miss an important scene of the movie.
The magnificent twist of the film’s story justified the reason why the first half was cheesy, shoddy and corny with an overly-filtered cinematography. The twist in the story was so clever it seem to trigger the deep-seated schizophrenia in me!
Very few Filipino films in the past made me cry. This one elicited a tsunami of tears from my usually dehydrated weeping ducts! I don’t wanna reveal the twist, neither do I wanna be a spoiler. Oh, by the way, the title of the movie is My Perfect You.
If I am to choose a place where to bring a foreigner-friend so as to fully immerse him to the culture of the Philippines, I would choose Villa Escudero in Tiaong Quezon.
Villa Escudero seem to contain and characterize a wide assortment of a true Filipino culture. Employees from engineering, to servers, to housekeeping and receptionists are all comfortably dressed in the traditional “patadyong” for the ladies and the colorful “camisa de chino” are worn by the guys.
The structures of Villa Escudero room accommodations are all native, characteristic of the traditional Filipino house known as “Bahay Kubo”. Villa Escudero also boasts of a marvelous museum collection, majority of which are about the rich Filipino religion, clothings, history and even fauna.
After a glorious Filipino buffet lunch right in the middle of a river with a man-made waterfalls as a backdrop, guests will get to enjoy and watch a Filipino show inside a humongous pavilion. The show features various uniquely Filipino dances, costumes and customs. I particularly loved the energetic TInikling dance, the funny vignette about Sabong, the robust and brawny Maglalatik and of course the singing of the song Filipinas at the end of the show. The show boasts about its authenticity for it was conceptualized and choreographed by the late Filipino National Artist for Dance, Mr. Ramon Obusan.
Then later in the afternoon, guests would get to enjoy and listen to a “harana” (a serenade). In the old days in the Philippines, a way for a suitor to woo a lady is by having a visit in the lady’s house. But prior to being allowed inside the lady’s abode, the suitor needs to sing by the lady’s window otherwise known as the Harana.
If the young lass showed up through her window, it means that the admirer will be welcomed inside the house after he finish his singing. But if the lady refuse to show up and face the singing dude by her window, it signifies that she is not interested towards the guy singing outside. In Villa Escudero, their male employees get to sing old and traditional Filipino song in front of the houses where guests are billeted as if they are doing a “harana”.
But what I am most impressed about the authentic Filipino element present in Villa Escudero was its excellent food selection during breakfast. Never have I seen a buffet breakfast as Filipino as that of the selection of dishes served in Villa Escudero!
It seem that all remarkable Filipino breakfast dishes are featured in their buffet. Aside from the usual fruits, yogurt, cereals, jams, milk and eggs, there were Filipino breakfast varieties like Champorado, Singangag, Lannganisa, Lugaw, Gatas Ng Calabao, Suman Sa Lihiya, Bibingka, Crispy Danggit, Crispy Dilis, Quesong Puti and of course Kapeng Barako.
Why do I know all these? It is because Villa Escudero was again the chosen venue of Nengkoy for her to celebrate her 81st birthday. Six years ago, this was the same venue for Nengkoy’s 75th birthday. Villa Escudero no matter what year we visit still has the same authentic Filipino elements for everybody to enjoy.
I can no longer count the number of times that I have posted in this blog that my favorite course in an entire meal would be the dessert. The confectionery course has always been my main course!
When I was in Bangkok with my mom and sisters, we of course got to try Thai dishes. I have always revered how uniquely sensual and remarkably palatable Thai dishes are. But still, it is a simple dessert among all the striking Thai dishes that really makes my modest and artless taste buds happy.
I love Khaoniao Mamuang. Don’t be fooled by how the words were spelled and how should it be read. The best Thai dessert for me is simply known as Mango Sticky Rice!
I adore this dessert for it is uncomplicated, simple and straightforward! No lavish implements are needed for its presentation; no rare, pricey and uncommon ingredient is need; no knotty and confusing procedures are required for its preparation; and, no intricate and confusing way of eating and enjoying it. Yet the taste is so heavenly!
It was my fifth time in Bangkok about a week ago. I may have failed to revisit some the beautiful and spectacular tourist spots of the city, but I never failed to eat, savor and enjoy the divine and blissful Khaoniao Mamuang!
There seem to be no good news in the Philippines for the past 2 years. Everything on the news concerning the situations in my country were either so bad or gone worse. Like any other ordinary citizen living in the Philippines, I long for some good news!
Because of the present economic, political and social circumstances of my country, I’m jealous and envious towards the citizens of progressive Canada. These feelings of envy was further reinforced when I saw a YouTube video of the winning dance skating performances of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in the recently concluded Winter Olympics.
Though the Philippines now send delegates, I don’t normally watch the Winter Olympics held every after four years. Maybe it is because my country does not have a winter season that is why winter sports are so foreign and unfamiliar.
But when I clicked on a recommendation by YouTube about a couple of weeks ago while I was searching for good news about the Philippines in the net, I suddenly wanted to become Canadian while watching Tessa and Scott’s performances.
My foolish admiration towards Tessa and Scott further intensified when I learned (also from Youtube) that they have been partners in the sports of ice dancing since their cute childhood days. This made me further admire and fell in love with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
They seem so pleasant and amiable that is so typical of a Canadian. I totally admired them to the point that after the day this tandem won their Olympic gold medals, I Facebook-messaged a friend and former colleague (Chef Onille Pitogo) who is now based in Canada, I told her to say hi to both Tessa and Scott if she happens to bump unto this lovely couple.
I thought that my wanting to become a Canadian would eventually wear off. But this was again revived and revitalized when I saw a homecoming video of this ice dancing legends when they arrived back in their home country.
Can some nice Canadian adopt me until the next Philippine presidential election? Hahaha! I badly need some damn awesome news about my country. And while I await for such moment, my heart continues to melt towards this lovely Canadian couple.
One epicurean highlight of me, my sisters’ and my mother’s adventure in Bangkok was the opportunity to dine at Jamie’s Italian. It is a popular worldwide chain of Italian restaurants conceived and run by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Thanks to cable TV my family knows who Jamie Oliver is.
This chain of restaurants has recently been in the news in which about a dozen of its branches scattered around the world are reportedly beleaguered and will soon be closing. It is so ironic that it has yet to open a branch in Manila, yet branches in other spots on the planet are already closing.
So before Jamie’s Italian would completely dissolve and utterly disappear from the face of earth, me, Nengkoy and my sisters took the chance to savor some of its dishes. My family love watching cable TV cooking shows (including that of Jamie Oliver’s) and now that there is an opportunity, we will no longer forever wonder how a popular celebrity chef’s creation actually taste like.
These are what we ordered…
And after enjoying all these savory dishes, I wonder why a significant number of Jamie’s Italian branches around the planet are in the brink of closure. Maybe it’s because taste buds of people around the world has mutated, regressed and had a relapse that it can no longer fathom, appreciate and recognize what good food is.
Good to know that the Bangkok branch stays strong and dynamic. This is considering the fact that Thai people seem to be one of the most discriminating in terms of flavor, taste and palatal experience. With the luscious taste and flavors we experienced at Jamie’s Italian Bangkok located at Siam Discovery, I hope that this chain remain for a long period of time for others with discerning taste to enjoy.